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"The Precise Date" Justice Stevens "Plans to Retire":

ABC News Jan Crawford Greenburg, author of a forthcoming book on the Supreme Court, told Howard Bashman that Justice Stevens told her "the precise date he plans to retire." For whatever reason, this claim has not received more attention or engendered greater uninformed speculation.

UPDATE: Yes, this is probably a joke . . . but that sort of thing has never prevented uninformed speculation before.

OrinKerr:
Yeah, I saw that. I had assumed it was some sort of joke.
1.7.2007 4:34pm
Ted Frank (www):
I thought, given the context, it was fairly obviously a joke teasing Bashman for asking a foolish question.
1.7.2007 4:45pm
OrinKerr:
FWIW, I am willing to bet that Stevens will retire by October 1, 2525. Any sooner than that, well, I'm not so sure.
1.7.2007 5:04pm
Joel B. (mail):
I could probably take a guess at the "precise date Stevens plans to retire," I'd guess the sooner of Stevens passing or January 21st, 2009. (Which means in all likelihood 1/21/2009.
1.7.2007 5:08pm
anonVCfan:
Same here. I figured he must have said something along the lines of "I'll retire when _____" where the blank is "I'm in a coffin," "hell freezes over," "I wake up in the morning and don't feel like doing this any more," or something like that
1.7.2007 6:32pm
CM:
Joel,

I don't think Stevens is waiting for a Dem. I'd say he doesn't give a damn who replaces him. He will stay as long as he can. Just like Rhenquist did.
1.7.2007 8:35pm
Malvolio:
Is it considered ethical for Justices (or Federal judges) to time their retirements so as to increase the chance of like-minded successor?

Seems kind of sketchy to me.
1.7.2007 8:55pm
SP:
Is it ethical to have your clerks do all of your writing for you?
1.7.2007 10:07pm
Kovarsky (mail):
CM,

I don't want to say it's "been repeatedly documented," but I think the consensus among those close to Stevens is that it is more likely than not that he is waiting for the day that bush does not select the next one.
1.7.2007 10:37pm
otto (mail):
It's a gamble. Stevens might do better to go now, with the combination of Bush and an vigorous Democratic Senate, than wait for who-knows-what-combination after 2008.
1.7.2007 11:40pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
Stevens might do better to go now, with the combination of Bush and an vigorous Democratic Senate, than wait for who-knows-what-combination after 2008.

Unless something miraculous starts happening on the war front, I suspect voters will steer clear of the Republicans for a while. Suddenly preaching anti-gay rights doesn't seem such a winning draw. And that fiscal responsibility meme that has worked in the past is being flushed down a no-bid toilet somewhere in the Middle East. Not enough regular voters care about the damn Supreme Court nominees to overcome the war and money mess we've been suckered into. Mark my words.
1.7.2007 11:47pm
Respondent (mail):
Malvolio,
Justices attempting to time their retirements in the hope of being replaced by an ideologically similar justice is the norm. And ex-Justice O'connor has said that she believes a justice should time his or her retirement to be at a time when the president is of the same political party as the president who appointed him/her. (Of course the speculation here is that Justice Stevens is trying to do exactly the opposite.)
SP,
Your comment is particularly ironic given that (at least as of the last decade on the Rehnquist Court, when the Supreme Court consisted of the nine justices whom I grew with and practically identified as being the institution itself!) Justice Stevens is one of only two justices (Justice Scalia being the other) who actually writes out the first draft of his/her judicial opinions himself/herself!
1.8.2007 1:37am
Ramza:
The day he finally takes Ann Coulter up on her dinner invitation?

I have a feeling he was saying the above comment in a joking matter, wouldn't it get tiring that every conversation you have with a reporter they ask when are you going to retire or what is your health like sir?
1.8.2007 2:03am
Justice Stevens (mail):
I'm already retired. A smattering of questions and opinion drafts is not what I call full-time employment.
1.8.2007 2:21am
Jim Addison (mail) (www):
I suspect AnonVCfan is correct: he said he'd retire "on the day when I no longer feel I can contribute" or some such.

I wouldn't complete rule out the possibility that Greenburg was simply yanking Bashman's chain, either.


Whatever the date of Mr. Justice Stevens' retirement is, the country will almost certainly be the better off for it.
1.8.2007 2:32am
Justice Stevens (mail):
Whatever the date of Mr. Justice Stevens' retirement is, the country will almost certainly be the better off for it.

Not if my successor is Larry Tribe or Stephen Reinhardt.
1.8.2007 2:42am
zooba:
That which is neither alive nor dead cannot die.
1.8.2007 3:16am
anonVCfan:
What is the basis for the insinuation that J. Stevens has his clerks do all of his work? I've always been under the impression that he did more of his own work than most of the other justices.... though I'm not sure where I got that idea, either?
1.8.2007 8:45am
abb3w:
Zooba: the proper quote would be either from Lovecraft ("That is not dead, which can eternal lie. Yet with strange aeons, even death may die.") or G.R.R. Martin's tribute thereto ("That which is dead can never die, but rises stronger than before.") Yes, I need to get a life.

I'm inclined to agree with anonVCfan; my guess was "when I keel over dead".
1.8.2007 12:46pm
Redman:

I don't think Stevens is waiting for a Dem. I'd say he doesn't give a damn who replaces him.


Funniest post I've read on here in a year.
1.8.2007 2:10pm
NI:
I don't know if this is a true story but supposedly there was a federal judge who had stayed far too long. One day his colleagues went as a group to talk to his wife to see if they could persuade her to persuade him it was time to retire. Her response was, "What, and have him at home all day? Absolutely not!"
1.8.2007 4:49pm